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Helping Your Child Embrace Change

Helping Your Child Embrace Change

boy high fiving parents

Life can be filled with new adventures for young kids with ADHD. Change is always occurring, and our kids have a tough time managing transitions, big and small. Kids with ADHD find it hard to process experiences quickly or shift to new tasks and situations. Their growing brains thrive on structure and consistency.

There are so many changes that are a part of growing up: starting school, getting to know new teachers and friends, moving to a new town, ending the school year, starting summer activities, playing on a sports team, adjusting to a new babysitter or caregiver, etc.

Parents are sometimes confused by their child's reactions to even small changes. Children with ADHD can have "transition trauma". They may have temper tantrums, regress to babyish behaviors, or say "No" to everything you ask. If your young child is whining and irritable (and it's not due to being tired or hungry), look at the latest transition they are facing for the cause.

If your child with ADHD faces transitions, here are some ways to calm their fears:

1. Prepare your child for change.

Visit the new school or new home ahead of time. Have a new babysitter come over to meet the child before you head out to date night. You child will feel more prepared and understand the transition ahead.

2. Notice how you convey your feelings.

Kids can spot false optimism from your body language and by listening to your conversations with others. If you feel negative about a change, your kid will pick up on it too! Talk with your child, be honest and explain the pros and cons of an upcoming changes. Finish this optimistic comments and let them know that everything will be okay. 

3. Have them read a book about the topic.

There are many books about all sorts of topics that you can read together or have your child read on their own - going to school, a divorce, death of a pet, etc. Check out your local library offerings or search online for an age appropriate book for your child. 

4. Use technology.

Head online to find resources that will make your child feel more comfortable about an upcoming transition. Pull up your new school's website to look at pictures or videos, look at pictures of your new house or look up fun things to do in the local area. There is so much available information online these days; search Facebook pages and/or YouTube for more videos and related topics.

5. Tell kids when the rules change.

If your child is changing bedrooms, go over the bedroom routine again many times - daytime behavior, nighttime behavior, where their clothes are and toys go. It may seem simple to an adult, but it's extremely helpful to a child with ADHD.

6. Have a chat.

Listening and empathizing with your child's feeling will reassure them. Let them talk about the change before they have to make it. It will help you understand their feelings about the situation, and help them feel supported and heard.